Muti’s illness diagnosed as “extreme exhaustion”: full recovery expected

Tue Oct 12, 2010 at 2:57 pm

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Riccardo Muti’s illness has been diagnosed as “extreme exhaustion,” in a statement released Tuesday afternoon by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has been released from the Milan hospital where he was undergoing tests, and the CSO music director is expected to make a full recovery and rejoin the orchestra, as planned, February 3-19 for his next round of concerts.

Following several tests at San Raffaele Hospital, Muti’s doctors diagnosed his condition as resulting from “prolonged physical stress,” which was manifested in “abdominal pain and other physical symptoms,” states the CSO. Muti’s physicians believe that he was able to work the first two weeks of his inaugural season, but the conductor’s fatigue had a cumulative effect that made it difficult for him to continue.

The 69-year-old conductor said he is feeling “not perfect, but relieved” to know it was not something more serious. Muti’s doctors have prescribed a month of complete rest, which he has begun at his home in Italy.

The sudden illness, which struck the conductor Oct. 2, the night of the CSO’s gala Symphony Ball, forced him to withdraw from that evening’s concert and the remaining two-and one-half weeks of his fall residency. Asher Fisch led last weekend’s programs and conductor emeritus Pierre Boulez will be on the podium for this week’s revised program of Mahler’s Symphony No. 7.

“After a terrible storm, even if the wind dies down and the skies have cleared, it takes a while for the waves to calm down fully,” said Muti, in a statement released by the CSO.

“I will do as my doctors say and rest completely so that I may return to Chicago in February ready to collaborate with the magnificent musicians of the CSO and continue the community programs we started in September. I very much appreciate the outpouring of well wishes and support from the members of the CSO family and residents of my new musical home, Chicago, and I look forward to my return.”

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